Leaving a Visual Legacy of Love for Your Children

Hello friends; Welcome! As you may have noticed, I have made a clean sweep of my blog and have decided to start anew. When my friend Jenni from Mamahh.com asked me to be a part of the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour with the theme of “Mama Love”, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to begin the blog again. I’ve had a lot on my emotional plate for a while now, and this will be a short post. However, I mean every single word and urge you to take it to heart.

There are so many wonderful contributions to the tour so far- check out Jeannie Johnson Casey’s post from yesterday – 16 Big Questions to Personalize your Birth, Make your Heart Sing, and Kick your Mothering Instincts into High gear. There are so many things to think about when you’re planning your birth experience, and Jeannie brings up several great things to consider. I love how she says to “Let go of thinking what is the RIGHT choice and just let your mind be open.”

I can’t wait to read Tracy Good’s thoughts tomorrow HERE.

Sign up for the entire Brilliant Mama Blog Tour so that you don’t miss a single post!


This is a photo of my mom holding me after a bath, taken sometime in early 1976. There’s nothing really remarkable about it, it’s just a time-faded snaphot using too much flash and it’s not very well composed. It is also one of my most treasured possessions. I lost my mom to cancer last month. It still hasn’t really sunk in that I will never again be able to call her up and ask her a question about a recipe, to visit and watch her beautiful relationship with my children, to sit and reminisce or chat about problems with her. This photo is one of only a handful of photos I have of her- it’s even more rare in that it’s just us, together. My mom, like myself, and like so many women I know (and have photographed) absolutely hated being in front of the camera. She would look at photos of herself and see only flaws. I look at this photo and see only love.

Many mamas are hesitant about getting in front of my camera, and I always tell them the same thing:  The photographs I take aren’t for you; they are for your children. This is true not only of professional photos, but every single snapshot or cell phone image that includes you with your children. While you may see more weight than you’d like, a face with no makeup or wrinkles, unwashed hair or the dirty dishes in the background, your children will one day only marvel at how young you once were, at the sweet memories the photo brings back, and will have a tangible, visual reminder of the beautiful face that looked at them with so much love.

These are words I need to say to myself as well. As a photographer I know better, but it’s just too easy to make excuses. Losing my mom has reminded me, and made it oh-so-clear that there is no time for excuses. What I wouldn’t give for more photos of her and I together through the years. Of course I can’t go back in time. I also can’t go back and take more photos with my own children as newborns, babies, and toddlers. But I CAN do better today, and tomorrow. I can be more aware of the message that I am sending them by choosing to be in the picture or not. I don’t want my daughter or son to think that there would EVER be a physical trait that would make them unworthy of being photographed.  I am everywhere in their lives, and while they will hopefully retain the memories of our lunches together at school, of playing silly games, building forts, taking spontaneous trips to the zoo and library, reading bedtime stories and singing lullabies… a photograph makes those memories so much more tangible. They are a visual legacy of love for your children.

Mamas, let’s put aside our hesitation and GET IN THE PICTURE. Your children will thank you for it one day.

Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll visit the blog again soon or sign up for my newsletter to stay in touch.

One day my kids will see only their mother

One day my kids will see only their mother’s sense of humor and love in these photos. (thank you to Amber Vongsamphanh for the professional photo)

May 17, 2014 - 11:13 pm

Med - Susan- This is SO true. I absolutely treasure the photos you had me get into with the boys. I had no intention to be in them after having surgery 2 weeks earlier and not feeling so pretty, but I catch the kids sneaking peeks at them and I absolutely treasure them. Thank you friend!! Love, MED

May 19, 2014 - 1:33 pm

Jenni at Mamahhh.com - Susan, THANK YOU for this heartfelt post & encouraging words for mamas. I LOVE the picture of you with the funny face!! You are brilliant, and your good energy is so evident in everything you do! Thank you for being you, mama! xoxox jenni

May 19, 2014 - 6:21 pm

Natasha Braly - Susan, thank you so much for sharing. Every word is so true. I am in few with the boys except christmas card pictures but when I think about it, I do hand glen the camera and say get one of us so they can look back and see them. I have more pictures of the boys with glen’s dad the last year ofhis life then I do of the 10 yyears prior because I knew with his cancer it was coming but it makes me regret all the pictures I missed out on for the others. You never know when your last day is so it is so important to capture all you can. Thank you for the reminder.

May 19, 2014 - 8:13 pm

Andrea - Susan, what an amazing post. You’ve given me a call-to-action, and I plan to take it on! You inspire me as a photographer, mother, and friend. xoxo

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *